About our Founder
Dominique and his family immigrated to Australia in 1967, he was just 13.
Hardship marred their early years here. They’d arrived from Egypt with very little money so financial resources were limited, however because of the generous support they received from Australian charities they were able to re-establish themselves.
As soon as he was legally able to Dominique joined the work force, getting a job as a telegram boy for the Randwick Post Office that paid $15 a week, which went straight back into the household. More roles followed, including a few jobs in factories here and there. Eventually he saw a job advertised for a typewriter mechanic and he was intrigued. His father had owned a typewriter business in Egypt so he was confident he could handle the role, however he was turned down due to having no formal mechanical experience. His interest was piqued and he went about finding a role in the field. After making call after call to every typewriter company in town he found one willing to take on an apprentice. In the basement was a small stationery store, this is where Dominique’s love affair with office supplies began. Soon, he noticed the men in the fancy suits who drove better cars and made their own hours, they were the salesmen and he set his sights on becoming one himself. He started to dress the part, buying himself suits and ties and wearing them to his typewriter mechanic job. His determination paid off, and on his first day as a salesman he made more money than he had the entire previous week, he knew his future would be in sales.
Dominique Lyone - Founder & CEO
" To me and my family, giving back is abig part of everything we are doing today. When we first came to Australia we needed a lot of help and if it wasn’t for charities like St. Vincent De Paul, we would definitely not be here today."
Despite past experiences Dominique still believes in taking risks, he believes that to win you must experience failure. When mentoring young entrepreneurs, he tells them that there’s real benefit in having gone broke “It’s in the struggle that you learn the greatest lessons” he says. Unquestionably, Dominique’s father is his hero. The idea of taking your family to the other side of the earth without knowing what awaits you takes enormous courage. He came to understand what it took for his father to not just make the decision to go but to endure the struggle that followed on arrival in Australia. It was this struggle, and the generous help that he and his family received from Australian charities that inspired his strong sense of charity and his desire to give back. He understands that there is still great need in this country and focuses his Lyone Foundation work on smaller, underfunded charities that are focused on human welfare.
After doing very well in this role he started to feel unappreciated, and one Friday afternoon he and a colleague decided to start their own business. Within 3 months they’d registered the name Complete Office Supplies and began trading in a tiny room in Parramatta. By the mid-80’s COS had employed 15-20 people and Dominique decided to expand into retail, borrowing his father’s entire superannuation to do it. Within a year, he’d lost the lot. He was advised to sell the business and declare bankruptcy, but he wasn’t willing to give up, he was determined to be a success and repay his father. Soon, came the whispers about the Internet, even though most of his customers believed it to be a passing fad and didn’t believe they’d ever use it, he saw its potential and invested in new technology to build a website that he promoted as a cost-saving tool for corporate and Government Australia.
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